Boys Do Want to Dance With Me

me, freshman homecomingThere I was. A young girl. Wondering if any of those boys wandering around the halls of the high school were going to ask me to Homecoming. “Probably not,” I whispered to myself, head down. I walked outside, through the parking lot. I walked home. Within the week, I discovered something. One of those boys cruising along, walking from class to class noticed me. Had thought about me. And had wanted to ask me to the dance. And he did. Ask me. And I said “OK.” I didn’t mind that he was shorter than my average [girl] height. His glasses didn’t bother me either. What I did know what that he was kind. And polite. Not overbearing or pushy.

Within the following week, I discovered something else. Some more of those boys striding along, ambling through the corridors, also had intentions of asking me to the first formal dance of my freshman year. One. Two. Three. Four. Four more boys, which included the boy I was crushing on, and the one I adored in third grade. All four boys asked me on a date. To the dance. Each boy, at a different time, approached me. Quietly, sort of shyly. And each asked, “Would you like to go to Homecoming with me?” I smiled all four times. And, in my head, in my heart, I wished I could have said “Yes!” to each boy. But I didn’t. I had already told someone I’d go with him. Someone kind and polite. So I told each of those boys, the ones who asked me too late, “Sorry, but I have already been asked.” I lowered my head, feeling bad. Yet, feeling pretty happy. Realizing that I had had it wrong. Completely wrong. Boys did want to dance with me.

Imagine

You’re 16. A boy. Hanging out with your buddies that aren’t really your buddies. They are some dudes, gangster-like, having the potential of looking for trouble, who are actually friends of your real friends. And the reason you’re hanging with these hooligans is because your true-blue friends are out and about. Doing their thing. And you figure you know these people well enough, so why not hang with them. For a while. For only as long as it takes to walk to the local mom and pop market to buy some chips and an ice cold drink. Long enough to wait for your tribe to show up.

So what do you do when, after leaving the store, you become part of an encounter that has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with one of the boys you’re hanging with? He’s in deep shit because he’d been tagging the city and from what you can tell, and what you’ve heard, the guy doing the complaining is an infamous gang leader in town. It seems bizarre, unusual, and sorta thrilling, too, but you know you must keep your cool and act like this is just a typical afternoon. So when the leader suddenly  walks up to you and says, Hey White Boy, those eyebrows for real? you, without thinking, reach up and run a finger along a naturally arched brow. Yeah, they’re for real, you say as coolly as possible.

Right answer. Right tone. At least you assume so. Because that leader of the gang, the Boss, turns away, back toward the criminal who’d been painting up the city, and he wraps his arm around the chump’s neck, leading him around in circles and tells that thug-wannbe to keep his city clean, or else.

And, all you could do is watch. Stand still. Be quiet. And hope that nothing bad happens. While at the same time, wishing you could cheer the Leader on, telling him how cool it is that he’s concerned  about the city and its polished status.

Imagine that.

boys of summer

Recently Bradford asked if he could go to the beach with a few friends, just to hang out.

“Yea, sure,” I responded.

He’s thirteen, soon to be 14 years old. An age where the strings begin to loosen, allowing him to explore his world without mommy and daddy constantly breathing down his neck.

“Cool, thanks Mom. And don’t worry, I will be safe. I will check in with you regularly,” Brad tells me, knowing I need that peace of mind.

Later. Much later, after the sun had set and the day’s activities had been expended, Brad told me about Arch Rock in Corona del Mar, California; a natural structure within the confines of a private beach, solely for those multimillionaires who could afford such a lifestyle.

“Nice. You climbed it, then jumped?” I asked.

“Yep. So cool!”

“But, wait, you said you were at a private beach? How’d you get in?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer.

“Oh, well, we dodged a security guard and jumped the gate!”

Gulp! But, I figured the day was done, and lecturing, at this point wasn’t going to happen, not when, at that moment, I really was more interested in Arch Rock.

“Pictures?” I inquired.

Brad shoved his phone towards me, pictures ready to be browsed through.

“Oh, Arch Rock is HUGE!” I exclaimed.

“I know, right? It was awesome!”

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